YOU’D be hard-pressed to accuse our president of slacking off this tax season. The White House released Mr Obama’s returns on Monday, 18 April 2011; looking at the numbers, I think it’s clear he’s paid more than I ever have.

President Obama earned $1.8m in 2010, mainly off of book sales. That makes me want to write a book.

His earnings are down from $5.5m in 2009, though, again off of book sales. That really makes me want to write a book.

The BBC reports that out of $1.8m in earnings, the Obama family paid more than $500,000 in state and federal taxes. In other words, nearly 28% of his hard-earned booty went to government coffers on 15 April.

Can you imagine making enough money to pay $500,000 in taxes? I can barely imagine making $500,000 in a single year. I’d be so happy to make that much cash, I would pay 28% taxes without thinking.

But has the president paid enough? I think so. After all, 28% of income is a fat chunk of change for anyone to pay during tax time. Consider the fact that the Romans taxed their citizens a flat 5% and lasted for nearly 1,000 years. But it seems the president has gotten off easy; the BBC article goes on to say that Mr Obama “benefited considerably from low tax rates on high earners enacted into law under his predecessor George W Bush”.

Interestingly enough, the President just proposed a budget that actually calls for these tax breaks to expire. In contrast to Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), Obama is asking the rich to shoulder their fair share during a time of looming deficits. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: if we want to cut our deficit in a meaningful way, we’ll need to reduce spending and increase revenue. There’s no way to choose just one.

The Republicans want to cut spending, but the President will likely ask them for tax hikes, too. To show his support in advance, he made sure to pay the Treasury generously and donate another fat chunk to charity. If you have a president in office who pays nearly one-third of his income to the government and is willing to legislate himself into paying even more, can you call him greedy?

Mr Obama’s budget asks for Republican-style spending cuts and Democrat-style tax hikes. He waited patiently for Mr Ryan’s overly conservative budget proposal and then nominated himself as the alternative choice right in the center.

Who else here thinks Obama is putting himself on solid political ground for the upcoming 2012 budget debate?

Live well, live well within your means, and remember – that’s how the Solvency Shark seas it!


Kenneth Long
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Kenneth Long

President at Debtors Unite
Kenneth Long is President of Debtors Unite, Inc. as well as President and Vice Chairman for Vision Credit Education, Inc. He served as a regional coordinator for the North Carolina Saves campaign. Long co-founded the Wake EITC Coalition along with Family Resource Center of Raleigh.

Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.

Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.

In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.

Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!

Favorite quote:

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson
Kenneth Long
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